Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched the most potent rocket in the world—the Falcon Heavy—into space with Musk’s own 2008 Tesla Roadster on board 4 years ago.
The cherry red sports vehicle, driven by the spacesuit-clad mannequin known as “Starman,” is still in space, following a solitary, oblong orbital course around the sun, occasionally passing as close to Earth’s orbit as Mars.
Starman is traveling through space in an uncovered red convertible which when comes under attack from a never-ending stream of micrometeorites, solar radiation, and cosmic rays will eventually destroy both his vehicle and his spacesuit. According to chemist William Carroll, the star radiation will cut through to the carbon-carbon bonds that make up the majority of the car’s plastic, leather, and fabric components while small space rocks continue to scratch and dent it from all sides.
It’s possible that the organic components of the car’s leather upholstery, rubber tires, and paintwork are now extinct. Carroll remarked, “I wouldn’t give them a year in that atmosphere for those organics.”
The vehicle is not making a research expedition. This was a test launch. According to the website, the roadster has made approximately 2 billion miles and around 2.6 orbits around the sun over the previous four years, largely across a void that is desolate and barren.
Where is the roadster now?
According to whereisroadster.com, a website that keeps track of the car in Space:
The current distance from Earth is 200,800,143 miles (323,156,606 km), 2.160 AU (17.97 light minutes), and it is departing at a speed of 8,746 miles per hour (14,075 km per hour, 3.91 kilometers per second).
The automobile is 250,107,662 miles (402,509,389 km) from Mars and is traveling away from it at a speed of 24,193 miles per hour (38,934 km per hour, 10.82 kilometers per second).
The vehicle is 15.320 miles per hour (24.655 kilometers per hour, 6.85 kilometers per second) away from the Sun at a distance of 115.908,883 miles (186.537.323 km), 1.247 AU, and 10.37 light minutes.
While traveling 2,439,489,034 miles (3,925,978,254 km; 26.24 AU) around the Sun at a speed of 61,495 mph (98,966 km/h; 27.49 km/s), the vehicle has exceeded its 36,000-mile warranty 67,763.6 times.
What is Tesla Roadster doing in space?
Starman has played Space Oddity in one ear 479,588 times and Is there Life On Mars? 646,225 times in the other ear since he launched, that is if the battery were still functional.
Since launch, Starman has made around 3.1691 orbits around the Sun. It takes 557 days for the Tesla Roadster to complete one orbit
Using 126,000 gallons of fuel, it has a fuel efficiency of 19,361.0 miles per gallon (8,231.2 km/liter, 0.01215 litres per 100 km).
The vehicle has logged enough miles to complete 61.1 laps around the globe.
Can we see the Tesla Roadster in space?
To discern the Upper stage from Earth, a telescope with a diameter of approximately 47,427 feet (14,456 meters) would be necessary. In perfect circumstances, one could perceive Starman as an unclear dot of around 91.2 feet (27.8 m) in diameter.
Starman and his roadster are currently travelling at a speed of a few thousand miles per hour.
Will the Tesla Roadster ever bash into a planet?
Initially, the cherry-red Roadster had been directed toward Mars’ orbit. Considering the car’s unsanitary state, planetary scientists were concerned that bacterial contamination after it collided with Mars would complicate efforts to find life there.
In the next million years, there is only a 6% probability that the car will impact Earth, and a 2.5% chance that it will hit Venus during that period.
Hanno Rein, an astronomer at the University of Toronto, calculated afterwards that the Roadster was more likely to strike Earth, Venus, or the sun in the next 10 million years.
That estimate showed that in November of last year, Starman crossed Mars’ orbit and moved deeper into the solar system in the direction of the asteroid belt.
The gravitational pull of Earth will cause parts of the car’s orbital characteristics to slightly shift each time it passes close by, making the Roadster’s route more erratic and unpredictable after its third Earth flyby.
The next time the roadster will likely get close to another planet will be in 2035, when it will once more pass by Mars. Then, in 2047 and 2050, it will make two passes by Earth at a distance of a few million kilometers.
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